Ag pilots fly at low levels with heavy loads, in a regular pattern over the ground avoiding trees, power lines, fences and other obstacles. Most flying is done during the early hours of the morning and again in early evening when the air is still. Takeoffs are often made from country roads and open fields close to the area to be treated. Work is seasonal and schedules are quite varied with irregular hours. Pilots work very close to poisonous liquids and chemicals and must wear protective clothing and masks.
Agricultural pilots need to have: excellent flying skills, planning and decision-making skills, skill in interpreting flight plans and making calculations, excellent concentration skills, good communication skills as they deal with a range of people. You should also be good at remembering landmarks and flight paths in order to make accurate flights, and be aware of the activities that are happening on the land where they are applying products. Knowledge of farming is also useful.
Information on agricultural pilot training programs and courses in Canada.
Information on licensing and requirements for pilots.
By Gates Scott
Search for "Ag pilot"
Working in Canada - Job Search - Government of Canada
Canadian Aerial Applicators Association - Job Opportunities in Classifieds section
OCCinfo - Alberta Occupational Profiles
Kinniburgh Spray Services